So I was settling down for a long and intensive school term (four classes plus two jobs equals what? No life!) this last week, starting to think of topics for term papers (about 50 pages' worth of them). Good thing I sent out a dozen fiction submissions during Spring Break, as I feel I won't have time again until Summer Break.
Less than two weeks after, my replies have started trickling in--already two or three stories have been shot down on the wing (what can I say? When submitting to a new market for the first time you just throw something and see what happens. Even after reading a couple issues you can't know how *your* work will be received alongside that). After about a year of trying to sell, I'd developed the impression that a quick response from a publisher meant they were REALLY not into the story. Because if they like something they'll hang onto it and mull it over and compare your overuse of parentheticals to other stories they really like, right? (Well, so I thought.) And seeing as rejects have already been coming so fast and furious back at me this go around...
So yesterday when I got a response from a story I expected the same deal--they'd read it fast and decided, just as quickly, not to give it a second thought. When, to my surprise, it was an acceptance! Woohoo! Maybe I shouldn't be celebrating until after the contract comes in, goes back, and gets me paid!!! But I can't help it because, well, woohoo!
This story (sigh, sniffle, wipe a nostalgic tear from my eye) was my first foray into science fiction. If you want to call it that, but there's an equal amount of fantasy in it. It's also a modern day tale, which I really have to be in the mood for to write.
Also, I think I wrote out the original all in one miraculously undistracted sitting, but this may just be the nostalgia wiping out the memories of pain and agony that generally accompany fiction writing. Right?
When I excitedly told my brother, who did a first reading of the story, that it had been accepted (I wrote it over a year ago, he read it maybe 6-8 months ago), he said, "Oh. I didn't like that one."
To which my response totally wasn't to sass back, "Shows what you know about selling fiction then, or quality, or saleability, or science fiction-space-college-fantasy-comedy-dramas full of biblical references and drunk pot-smoking co-eds."
Instead I was more like, "Yeah, whatever. But it sold!"
Which cheers me up. I liked the story a lot when I wrote it (anything that you can bang out all in one sitting--or believe you did--generally fits this description), while I still put it aside for quite a while before submitting it anywhere (first try!!!). Why? Because I didn't really know if anyone would take a story with so much weird stuff going on and somewhere along my fictional career, too, I've developed the impression--not just from myself but from others--that comedy doesn't sell. Not that it's a flat-out hilarious farce, but .... when you get really attached to a story you don't want it to fail. Even if that means nervously holding onto it, uncertain whether or not to hide it from the world and keep it safe, or throw it out and see if it can fly on its own. I don't want something I'm really proud of to get shot down, but do I really want it to sit around and gather dust, either? Shouldn't people see it?
I suppose on that front I should say I got a smidge of feedback on one of my rejected stories so far--one line of why they didn't like it, but personalized, not a generic 'no thanks'. Another one I really like and want the best for. And seeing as that's true, it'll do me good to take that line of advice, consider its value, and see if I can't use it to improve the story for its next go around.
But, until then, woohoo!